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Our Opinion: A Rood awakening

June 14, 2002

If Mike Rood is leaving his job as Calexico city attorney because he is simply weary after 10 years in Calexico's harrowing political trenches, we would be fine with his departure.

If Mike Rood is leaving his job because certain overcharged elected officials are talking out of turn, then someone needs to apologize, because Rood's departure will be a serious blow to Calexico and city officials should do what they can to convince him to stay.

Rood is a good attorney and good man who has provided a voice of reason and calm in the often tumultuous world of Calexico politics. Yes, there have been a few times in recent years when we wished he and the city would have fought rather than settled. Still, a good attorney knows there are times when compromising and paying a small sum or losing a small battle is better than paying a huge sum and losing a huge battle. And no one who has watched him over the years would doubt that Rood has both a fine knowledge of municipal law and how things work in Calexico.

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We think Rood's pride was hurt because some City Council members questioned whether the city of Calexico was spending too much money for legal services. Yet this is a litigious society, and few places are more litigious than Calexico. And as Rood pointed out, Calexico's legal budget is half that of El Centro's, and the difference in the sizes of the cities and the sizes of their government functions is nowhere near that large. The city has been getting its money's worth and more from Rood.

Sometimes when new and enthusiastic people are elected to a public board, they take public stands on things before they think about those they might offend. And when people are hurt by unthinking statements, they leave.

Mike Rood is leaving Calexico's city government, he says because he wants to spend more time with his El Centro-based private legal practice. We think there is more to it than that, and we hope those who might have had a hand in prompting his departure think long and hard before they speak next time, even when their hearts are in the right place.

Calexico needs an honest, dedicated and knowledgeable city attorney as the city mushrooms in this new millennium.

It just lost one.

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